The Friars came home from the Big East Tournament with a bang. They’re leaving the NCAA Tournament with a whimper.
The Friars were dominated on the boards en route to the 73 to 69 loss. The Aggies tallied 44 rebounds. The Friars had 26 rebounds.
The loss gives Coach Ed Cooley a pathetic 1-5 record in the NCAA Tournament as Friars head coach.
The Friars started off well, at least on one side of the ball. They held the Aggies scoreless over the first six-and-a-half minutes of the game. They blocked out well and played good defense.
But so did Texas A&M. Almost every shot the friars took was contested. Offensive rebounds came at a premium.
Texas A&M had some serious size. Their front line contained players 6’10, 6’10, and 6’9.
The Friars went into half-time down by a score of 28-27. They seemed to play a style of basketball that benefited the Aggies and their tall trees. They were playing a slow paced game based on half court sets. Fast break points came at a premium.
The Friars went into the second half down one, but couldn’t hang with Texas A&M over the last 10 minutes of the game.
With 13 minutes left to play in the game, the Friars fall behind by 8 points. They were down 45-37.
The Friars, to their credit, hung tough. They had one more run left in them.
Senior star forward Rodney Bullock hit back to back three pointers halfway through the second half. That pulled the Friars within two points. A fall away jumper by superstar point guard Kyron Cartwright tied the game at 50 apiece with 9 minutes left.
It just wasn’t enough.
The Aggies, however, were the more physical and athletic team. They beat the Friars at their own game–out-hustling them to loose balls.
And the Friars went cold at the wrong time. They missed 6 consecutive field goal attempts up until the 2 minute mark. That was a 4:30 second field goal drought.
It was over when center Nate Watson fouled the Aggies Tyler Davis from behind. He was called for a flagrant foul. That meant two shots, and the ball to the Aggies. That gave Texas A&M an 11-point lead with just 2 minutes left. The game was over.
The loss brings the excellent careers of seniors Kyron Cartwright and Rodney Bullock to a conclusion. Bullock ended the game with 22 points. Cartrwight scored 11. Star off-guard Alpha Diallo scored 21 points.